Tom Joad is the main protagonist of John Steinbeck's 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath and the John Ford 1940 film adaptation of the same name.

In the 1940 film, he was portrayed by Henry Fonda.

Why He Rocks

  1. Despite his previous history as a criminal, he's still a good-hearted person who cares for his family and the people around him.
  2. Even when he gets beaten down, he still manages to stay strong and is super persistent.
  3. Henry Fonda does a great job portraying the character the film adaptation.
  4. He was willing to help fight against the unjust system for Californian starvation wages.
  5. He's shown to be willing to protect the innocent from anyone who tries to harm them, as shown when he and Casy tackled and knocked out a sheriff who falsely accused a man of commiting a crime or when he beats up the guard who kills Jim Casy.
  6. His famous "I'll be there" speech to Ma towards the ending of the film shows just how determined he is to finish what Casy started and fight for social justice.


  • Tom Joad came in 12th place in the Heroes category on AFI's 100 Heroes and Villains countdown.
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